... as a colleague commented to me this week. It's an old inside joke for her, since twenty or so years ago a friend announced it as though it were some sort of revelation. But actually, of course, it is a bit of a revelation, at least for folks like me who (1) think that I should always be accomplishing the same amount regardless of how I'm feeling, and (2) tend to globalize and to think that however I'm feeling right now is how I have always felt and will always feel for all time.
The good news is that on Thursday, for the first time in almost two weeks, I felt like myself again and woke up in a generally cheerful mood instead of lying in bed wondering if there was really any way or any reason to go on. What I had was "just" a cold, but it was a cold that gave me a racking cough that complely wore me out physically and made it very hard to do my job.
I was planning my classes based on how much I thought I could talk before I started coughing uncontrollably, and that, my friends, is not the key to sharp pedagogy. So I was also feeling kind of down about my teaching for the last two weeks, which didn't help my frame of mind.
And of course the coughing was waking me up at night, which also wasn't helping matters. I'm going to give the credit to Nyquil for my eventual healing; I mostly avoid cold medication, since it makes me super spacy and weirds me out, but I finally couldn't take the lack of sleep anymore, so I bought Nyquil pills. And wow, I was hung over for a good 5 hours after waking up that first morning! I then went to the child's dose of only one pill for the two subsequent nights, which still knocked me out but helped me feel like I wasn't moving underwater the next morning.
And thanks to the drugs and the passage of time, I finally have turned a corner in the last couple of days, and life is once again worth living. I still have a cough -- leftover from all of the throat irritation, I think -- but I now remember that I'm normally a fairly optimistic and cheerful person who actually likes other people. So that's nice!
The one thing I wasn't doing at all during my fortnight of feeling crappy was grading essays; I simply didn't have the energy, the focus, or the requisite good cheer to tackle that project. So on Thursday I apologized to my AP students for having had their essays for a week and a half and promised that I would finish them over the weekend. And bless their hearts, they listened to me for a few minutes and then interrupted to say, "Seriously, Dr. Now, you are an incredibly fast grader. Getting an essay back after two weeks is no big deal." And then they told me that they had teachers who routinely took two months to return work. Now, that is a terrible thing indeed, and there's no excuse for it -- seriously, those colleagues (whom the students didn't name) should be ashamed of themselves. But it is nice that my students give me credit for grading as quickly as I try to do. I laughingly asked, "So I should stop beating myself up about this?," and one student replied, "Yeah, this isn't worth even a light beating."
I do have oodles of catch-up work I need to do this weekend, and I'm still not at 100% capacity, but life is once again worth living.